Potential rust in water

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    Potential rust in water


    A week and a half ago we noticed a substantial amount of ‘bits’ in our bath water, a mixture of what looked like grit, some bits hard and some bits that smeared, black and brown in colour. We reported to the landlord immediately and a couple of days later the letting agent sent a plumber round who said that he thought an iron pipe had corroded/rusted and the bits in the water were rust. (For info we have a mixture of copper and iron pipes.) He told us that the pipes went under a concrete floor and the whole floor was likely to need digging up to replace the pipes. He seemed very certain in his diagnosis and told us there was no other option. He reported his findings to the letting agent and the agent got back to us and told us to ‘wait two weeks to see if it goes away’. This didn’t seem fair to us but we’ve gone along with it for now. The water does run clear after a while but we feel uncomfortable bathing our children in it and are unsure of the health risks if any etc.

    The two week deadline is approaching and the water continues to be contaminated in the same way, nothing has changed. Once we’ve informed the letting agent of this, can we expect prompt action? What are our rights in this instance if they continue to delay?

    thanks in advance.

    Get in touch with whoever your water supplier is and ask them to analyse the water from the tap.
    They'll a) confirm if it's a health risk and b) give you more of an idea what the cause of the issue is.

    If the pipes are corroded, it may be more sensible to line the pipes than dig up a concrete floor and replace them.
    It's not likely that there is no other option.
    When I post, I am expressing an opinion - feel free to disagree, I have been wrong before.
    Please don't act on my suggestions without checking with a grown-up (ideally some kind of expert).


      Are the water company doing any works in the area?
      Their website might tell you, if not try ringing them.

      Sometimes mains works a couple of miles away can result in bits in your water.
      This can last for weeks or even months, you know how long they have the roads dug up for.

      Which is probably why the agent said to wait a while, to see if any works cleared up.


        Which is probably why the agent said to wait a while, to see if any works cleared up.

        ahhhh! That is good to know. Thank you.

        Thank you both for your replies


          Iron copper and some mild acid should produce 0.78volts and corrosion in the iron. I would say your mix of metals in continually changed water was a recipe for this to happen.

          On the other hand I'm not aware of any real threat from iron ions in contact with the skin. Orally, iron can poison you, especially for some people from Ireland, but lack of iron will also kill you. (The treatment for people susceptible to poisoning from normal levels of iron, is occasional blood letting.)

          The material data safety sheets I could find for pure ferric oxide (rust) don't even bother to quote LD50 or LC50. I believe it is used in the cosmetics industry as rouge. I think other oxides of iron are also used as cosmetic pigments.


            If it runs clear after a bit, just run the tap surely? That's what I had to do at my granny's and I'm still here 40 years later.


              What jko says.


                Talk to your water company.

                1. they can tell you if it is their fault.
                2. If it is their fault and you are on a meter, then you may get a rebate for having to run your taps to get clean water.

                Also, can you advise if it is the hot water or the cold water or both that is an issue?
                If hot only, do you have a loft tank that feeds it?
                Hot water only would make it unlikely that the water company is at fault.


                  This is the sort of thing I was refering to on the suppliers website:
                  Very occasionally, we get customer calls about “tiny particles” or “bits” in their tap water. This can be caused:
                  • by planned or unplanned work to the water supply network, which has caused sediment in the pipes to shift (quite often this is a dark red/brown colour)
                  • if your pipework is made from lead. In this case, small dark grey or black particles can occasionally be caused. This is most likely if your house was built before 1970.
                  With a bit more searching (Try putting your postcode in the website searchbox) you should find details of any ongoing problems or works in your area.


                    Had something similar with Severn Trent Water late last year - running water looked murky for the first few minutes.

                    (I'm a tenant.)

                    Rang the water co. - they did have works in the area, suggested we just run the taps for a while (2-5 minutes) before use, and put a rebate on our bill.

                    If that brings no joy, then I'd take it to the LL/LA stating you have done as much as you can.


                      I had the same thing at one of my properties. The plumber is probably correct in his diagnosis, that its rust particles from old iron/steel pipes. As you say, it normally clears after running the water for a while, at least it did in the bath where we have 22mm pipes. However, our basin tap is a modern 15mm variety and clogged up pretty quickly.
                      I disagree with the plumber's conculsion though as most modern water pipes are flexible plastic types and there may be an option to bypass the old pipework and fit a new pipe through the ceiling and down or behind units. The solution for us was to get rid of as much of the old pipework as possible and then fit one of these: under the basin: https://www.sentinelprotects.com/uk/...liminator-nano


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